Scottish Gemmological association

Upcoming Events and Meetings


wednesday, 28th February, 2018

At 7.00 for 7.30p.m, our next evening talk will be from Alan Hodgkinson starting with his observations from Tucson 2018 and finishing with an exploratory glimpse into a bequest received from Eric Bruton.

One of the highlights of Alan's recent trip to Tucson was attending the evening event which announced that the University of Arizona is creating a new Chair of Gemology at the University which will collaborate with the Gem-A in this new venture by the university into the world of gemology.



This meeting will be held at The Eric Liddell Centre.  For details -


The final talk arranged before our Conference will be from Clare Blatherwick on the 28th of March entitled World Tastes in Jewellery.

Clare will look at some of the factors that drive the global market, what sort of stones, makers and eras are commanding the greatest interest, with examples of prices achieved in auctions across the world, as well as opening up a discussion on predictions for 2018.


If you would like to join us afterwards for a drink or something to eat, we will have a table booked at the nearby Cafe Grande.



The Accredited Gemologists Association is pleased to announce that Dr. William (Bill) Hanneman is to receive the 2018 AGA Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology.

The AGA Bonanno Award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to the gemological field. Recipients of the award are selected by a majority vote of the AGA membership.

Dr. Hanneman's contributions to the gemological community are many. From education to his various innovative tools, Bill Hanneman’s body of work is of profound benefit to gemology. “Dr. Hanneman has dedicated decades to providing gemologists with practical solutions to many of gemology’s big challenges. It would difficult to think of anyone more deserving of this recognition,” said AGA President Stuart Robertson.

Bill Hanneman exemplifies what the Bonanno Award represents: gemological expertise and excellence in gemological practice, research, and education, and a dedication to sharing gemological knowledge through formal teaching and professional collaboration. Dr. Hanneman has authored a number of books, including: Guide to Affordable Gemology, Pragmatic Spectroscopy for Gemologists, Diamond Cut Grading Simplified, and Naming Gem Garnets, all of which were motivated by Bill’s desire to make gemological information affordable and thereby assessable to anyone interested in exploring the subject.

Hanneman's many tools are notable because they filled a gap for something portable, affordable, & practical. They include the Diamond Eye, a reflectivity meter providing RIs for gems that with RI values over 1.80; the Diamond Eye provided readings for such gems as diamond and synthetic moissanite, CZ and other diamond look-alikes. Another Hanneman tool provided not only an RI, but birefringence and dispersion for faceted gems, with RI values up to 2.37 (and without the need for toxic liquids). His color filters, developed in collaboration with Alan Hodgkinson, provided quick and easy pre-screening ID, and his specific gravity balance was the first to provide direct readings, even for gems weighing under one carat.

Dr. Hanneman's work parallels that of Mr. Bonanno's distinguished career, it's a life-long body of exceptional work inspired by a desire to share his work and knowledge with gemologists everywhere, students and professionals alike. His contributions to the field of gemology have had a tangible impact on gemologists, universally.

Previous recipients of the AGA Antonio C. Bonanno Excellence in Gemology Award include: Al Gilbertson, Dr. Cigdem Lule, Dr. Thomas Hainschwang, Dr. John Emmett, Dr. Emmanuel Fritsch, Thom Underwood, Stuart Robertson, Richard Hughes, Christopher Smith, Dr. James Shigley, Shane McClure, Richard Drucker, Alan Jobbins, Antoinette Matlins, Dr. Henry Hanni, The late G. Robert Crowningshield, John Koivula, C. R. Beesley, and Alan Hodgkinson.

The AGA Antonio C. Bonanno Award for Excellence in Gemology will be presented at AGA’s Gala Dinner Dance at the conclusion of its Tucson Conference, Wednesday, January 31, 2018, from 6:30 – 11:00 PM, at the Tucson University Park Hotel. The award includes a personalized plaque and $2000.00 research honorarium funded by the AGA membership. For additional information or to attend the conference or gala, go to or call 844-288-4367.

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PASt meetings and events


alistir, charles and alan.jpg

In January we were delighted to have Charles Evans from the Gem-A come to visit us.  He described his talk as 'a whistle-stop journey through the Kimberley region,  before concluding with a visit to the depths of some of the oldest mines in the region'..   A pfd that accompanied his talk will appear shortly.


In December we had no meeting scheduled, instead we gathered at the Salisbury Arms in Edinburgh on Tuesday the 12th for a pre-Christmas dinner celebration. And a very enjoyable time was had by all!



29th November:  Stuart Pool on Responsibly-sourced Gemstone,  7.00 for 7.30 p.m

This highly informative talk was about the mine-to-market journey of the gemstones of Sri Lanka, highlighting the artisanal mining and also covered the range of stones that are found there. 

For those who missed it this time round, there will another opportunity to hear Stuart in 2018 at our Conference, so we are not including a pdf of his presentation!



8th November:   Maria Maclennan  on Forensic Jewellery

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We were delighted to have Maria join us for the evening when she explained just how her career path had progressed to her current employment and interest in the development of the evolving field of Forensic Jewellery.   We were also treated to some actual case studies which illustrated this interesting subject. 

Our sincere thanks to Maria for a very enjoyable talk and our best wishes that her enthusiasm and energy carry her forward along this fascinating path.


18th October:   Marcus McCallum on Included Quartz and other Gemmological Curiosities

We were delighted to see Marcus back in our midst, with some really unusual specimens for us to look at, together with a selection of his stock.  A good time was had by all!




27th September:  Richard Taylor was speaking on Colour Perception Testing, a pdf outlining his presentation is below.

Richard gave us a very enjoyable and informative talk and he braved the rather erratic wifi available to us with humour and perseverance!  Our sincere thanks.

"How well do colour communication systems work within the context of the gem and jewellery industries?

A recurring challenge within the jewellery and gem industries is how to reliably communicate colour and the development of a methodology to measure and/or quantify colour in a reliable and reproducible manner that has meaning and relevance to the human condition. Historically colour communication has relied upon the use of descriptive names but over time the meanings can change and if value and profit becomes involved the temptation to expand or alter a ‘colours’ boundaries for personal gain is created.

Colour communication therefore creates an interesting challenge and a moral dilemma for the gem and jewellery industries, with many failed attempts attesting to the challenging nature of the problem. The difficulty some may find strange is not our ability to measure colour accurately, this is easily achieved using modern scientific instruments, it’s the fact the way humans ‘see’ colour is fundamentally different to scientific measurements therefore the value measured frequently does not relate or correspond to the colour we ‘see’. This complexity is further expanded when considering that the ‘colour’ of a gemstone can be a complex combination of varying hues tones and saturations,  from which the ‘apparent’ endeavour in colour communication is to select a single colour to best represent this perceived complex image."

For pdf of presentation, click here -

Following on from this talk, Richard is looking for some assistance with his ongoing research and would be happy to discuss it further with anyone interested.  Richard's research is based on gemstones, however it has a much wider relevance and could be of interest to anyone involved in the Arts and Design disciplines.


On the 30th of August we had a very informative workshop with Andrew Fellows of Birmingham City University.

"So you think you know your diamonds from your cubic zirconias and synthetic moissanites?  From glass through to bismuth germinate, there are far more diamond simulants both on the market today and historically than many people realise.  With a chance to see a range of these natural and synthetic stones up close, this evening looks at the timeline for these simulants, and offers advice on testing procedures, and how to differentiate them from true diamonds"

Andrew gave a short presentation and then turned us loose on the various and wide ranging examples of simulants her had brought along.  There was even a very large CZ - 80mm. in diameter, 50mm in depth and weighing in at 3176ct!   As ever with Andrew, we had a really enjoyable time and we are very grateful for his efforts on our behalf.  We were also very happy to welcome his parents to our event.

A pdf of his presentation notes for this workshop can be found here -

2017 Annual General Meeting

Our AGM was held on the 9th of August, at the Eric Liddell Centre.   We had several apologies from members unable to attend and the result was maybe a slightly smaller attendance than previous years, but a still very select group!   Minutes will be issued in due course.  Chairman's Report

This was followed by a very informative presentation by Carmen Garcia-Carballido on her recent trip to Australia.   Judging by the photos and enthusiastic tales told by Carmen, she and her husband Peter had a truly memorable time visiting areas of Australia renowned for opal and sapphire production and meeting with several fascinating miners and characters along the way.  She hopes this was the first trip of many!

Carmen also brought to the meeting a variety of samples of rough and finished material which she acquired on her journey.  After the talk, we had an enjoyable time examining these.

Our sincere thanks and appreciation go to Carmen and to her husband Peter for his assistance.

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lauriston Castle Outing

We had a very enjoyable afternoon out at Lauriston Castle.  Our guide Mike did an excellent job of showing us the interiors and telling the history, not only of the castle itself, but also of some of the memorable owners.  Everywhere we turned, there was something else to see - another visit might be called for!

Some photos to whet your appetite:


SGA award to BCU Gemmology and Jewellery Studies Degree graduating Student

On the the 13th of June, Birmingham City University hosted an Industry Evening and also made awards to individual students. Within the Jewellery Department, an award was presented to the graduating Gemmology and Jewellery Studies Degree student with the highest marks, Delyth du Plooy.

The prize, a place to attend the 2018 Scottish Gemmological Association Conference, was donated by the SGA. Alistir Tait, our Chairman, attended the event and seems to have enjoyed himself!


2018 Conference

Our next Conference will be from the 4th to the 6th of May

and will be held at the Westerwood Hotel at Dullatur near Cumbernauld (a bit closer to Glasgow than Edinburgh!), from the 4th to the 6th of May. Transport links from Glasgow or Edinburgh are good. Detailed information will be available on our website from November and booking will open mid-December.


2017 Conference Photos

There are a selection of photos now available to view, just click here -


GEM-A trip to Sri-Lanka, October 2017

If you are looking for a gemmological holiday with like minded people this autumn, this Gem-A trip to Sri-Lanka might be of interest.  More info -



GemSet Competition 2017

This year's 1st Prize was awarded to Monika Nemanyte of Glasgow City College,  for her hand made mixed metal, enamelled and gemset pendant.

  To see the full list of those who received awards and photos of their submissions, please click here -


Happy Birthday Alan!

On Wednesday 22nd March we had an early surprise celebration of our President Alan Hodgkinson's 80th Birthday.  Cake and fizz enjoyed by all who were there -

Congratulations Alan!


previous MEETINgs

On Wednesday, 22nd March, we had Godfrey Fitton talking on The Natural History of Blue John.

This was a thoroughly enjoyable presentation and we are hoping to follow it up with a summer outing to Lauriston Castle.  Details will follow shortly.  Meantime, Godfrey has generously allowed us access to the Powerpoint presentation which accompanied his talk.

  More -


At February's meeting Alan Hodgkinson was our speaker for the evening and gave us the benefit of his observations and insights from this year's Tucson Show.  As always his presentation was full of detail, accompanied with interesting anecdotes and, as ever, made those who weren't in Tucson this year wish they had been!

Alan also returned with The Hanneman Trophy, awarded for Contributions to the Literature of Gemology.  Alan said he was honoured that the name Hodgkinson would be following in the footsteps of previous recipients including:  Anderson, Webster, Liddicoate, Sinkankas, Pough, Arern, Bruton, Gubelin, Nassau and Koivula.

Our congratulations to Alan!

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Idar-Oberstein cutting

On the 25th January 2017, we were delighted to have Deborah Mazza talking on Idar-Oberstein cutting.  As always, she showed great knowledge and enthusiasm for her subject.

 Deborah discussed gem carving as an art form and also considered the question of skill/craftsmanship vs talent.  Gem carving has been developed to a very high standard due to modern technology and particularly to the skill of Idar-Oberstein artists.

 We were treated to an excellent presentation, mainly concentrating on three of the Idar- Oberstein cutters she has in-depth knowledge of and regards highly.  To give a flavour of the content of her talk to those not able to attend, this link is to a video of Manfred Wild, one of the cutter she chose to discuss.

There were also some examples of Idar-Oberstein craftsmanship available to view and handle.



Our November meeting was a presentation from Sarah Steele of Ebor Jet Works in Whitby. 

Sarah's enthusiasm, knowledge and experience came shining through and we were treated to an evening packed full of information, images and examples of related (and not so related!), materials, both in rough form and as finished pieces.

Our thanks to Sarah for the time and energy she put into this presentation and we look forward to hearing about her next exploits.



Scottish Sapphires

Our October meeting was a highly enjoyable talk given by Ian Combe on Scottish Sapphires. The meeting was well attended, as was our meal afterwards, and we all greatly appreciated Ian's efforts on our behalf.  After recounting stories of his (and that of a few of our other members!) involvement with Scottish Sapphires we had the opportunity for a closer look at several cut stones, some rough and some finished jewellery.

 We do have a couple of photos and this PDF originally printed by The Times (we think!) in 1995.

This PDF of Ian's presentation gives an outline of what he covered for those who were unable to attend.



Jade Talk and Workshop.

On Wednesday 28th September, Andrew Fellows presented us with a workshop on Jade.  Andrew is well known within British Gemmology circles and is a regular attendee at our Conferences.  He is a professional gemmologist, diamond-grader and ODL Tuition Manager at Gem-A in London.

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After a short talk on the sources and different kinds of jade, we were able to handle and look closely at a selection of specimens from Andrew's personal collection.  Our sincere thanks to Andrew for making the trip north to talk to us and we look forward to his next visit!

Our 'after meeting' suppers are getting popular.  We had 16 attendees for our visit to Cafe Grande and there have been positive reports!

For those who were unable to attend the actual meeting, Andrew has generously given permission for us to include a pdf of the illustrations for his talk.  To view, click here -


Burma Trip

As many will be aware, last year several of our more intrepid members undertook a Gemmological Trip to Myanmar, or Burma as we often still call it.

For photos, please click here



We have sent out email reminders that our renewal Membership Fees are due.  Once again we are holding the annual full membership charge at £25 and the student fee at £10.  The 2017 Renewal Form can be found under the New Membership Application Form here - -

Payment can be made as follows, quoting your name as a reference:

Our preferred payment method is by Direct Banking to:  The Scottish Gemmological Association, A/c No: 00202367, Sort Code: 83 26 02

Payment can also be made by Credit Card / Debit Card using Paypal to

To pay by cheque, return the completed form along with your cheque to:- SGA Conference, c/o Alistir Tait,  116A Rose Street, Edinburgh. EH2 3JF.

To pay by bank transfer, or for further details, please e-mail


Postal Address

Please send all correspondence to:

The Scottish Gemmological Association

c/o Alistir Wood Tait

116A Rose Street



Email address